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Pin-tailed Whydah

Afrikaans name: Koningrooibekkie

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A male Pin-tailed Whydah, in non-breeding plumage, taking a bath

Photo © Steven Herbert

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A male Pin-tailed Whydah in breeding plumage. Taken in iMfolozi Game Reserve.

Photo © Steven Herbert

Vidua macroura

This interesting little bird is found across virtually all of South Africa. Beyond our borders it occurs in a number of sub-Saharan countries.

In some areas it is a common bird in gardens and is particularly obvious during the breeding season. They can be a pest as they try to chase away all other birds from their territory. During this time the male Pin-tailed Whydah seems to have an unlimited supply of energy as it courts females and chases away other birds.

Male Pin-tailed Whydah's are handsome birds during the breeding season. Non-breeding males and females are more drab. They are brown with dark streaks on the head and pinkish red bills.

Non-breeding males are about 12 cm in length. During the breeding season his length is 34 cm with his long tail.

During the breeding season the male can often be seen trying to court females. He flies in front of her bobbing up and down. He is quite persistent.

Breeding males are also very territorial and will aggressively chase rivals away.

These birds are parasitic breeders. Their main host is the Common Waxbill but other Waxbills are also affected.

Pin-tailed Whydah's feed on seed and grain.

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References

List of South African Birds

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